Lessons Learned

Well, this week has been “get whatever nasty stuff we have in our bodies out, and get good stuff in” for the whole family. This means we are focusing on lots of vegetables, fruits, and very lean proteins. The reason we are doing this has more to do with state of mind than anything else.

This is the deal: we are living in a society where eating healthy is a “choice” we have to make every day. We are used to a life where food is readily available whenever we need it. You’re running out the door, grab a breakfast bar; Hungry and stuck in traffic, stop at the drive through at a fast food joint; Too tired to cook after a long day’s work: pop in a frozen dinner in the microwave. Healthy food is not readily available like that. It takes planning, it takes shopping, its a whole process. A process we’re not used to and most of us aren’t very happy with. This brings on another phenomenon. Readily available food takes out the need to “stop and think” about what we’re eating. Since it is no longer necessary to really “think” about what we eat – we can eat whatever we crave, whatever we have available at home, whatever is closest to where we’re located at the time – then we only “think” about food for one reason: TO LOSE WEIGHT.  This is why diets are so popular. Our lifestyle promotes weight gain. So when we reach a weight we are not comfortable with, we start thinking about our diets. We eat less, we cut out certain foods, we eat things we don’t necessarily like, and we lose weight. Once we’ve shed some pounds, we start making a few exceptions. It doesn’t all happen at once. It starts off on a Saturday at a party. We eat that dessert we love because we’ve earned it. Then Sunday comes around and we eat a couple of extra slices of bread before the food comes out because the urgency of losing weight is no longer there. And slowly, gradually, we go back to what is most comfortable for us: eating without thinking. And we really don’t have to think about food again until our skinny jeans aren’t closing even though we haven’t washed them!!!!

When I decided that I was going to eat healthy only to be healthy and for no other reason, I believed I would not fall into this trap. I thought if I could go a certain amount of time eating good food, that I could change enough where eating poorly was no longer an option. That is not necessarily the case yet. This weekend was an eye opener for both Orlando and I. As the weekend progressed, mainly because our choices were so limited, we made extra exceptions. We tried to stay on track but little by little we started making justifications. It was only really wednesday evening to saturday afternoon but by the time Sunday rolled around, we were at my mother’s house and I found myself stuffing my face with pita chips and cheese. I didn’t even think about it. It only struck me when Orlando said, oh my God those cinnamon pita chips are delicious, I can’t stop eating them! At that moment, I thought, that’s odd – that Orlando is eating cinnamon pita chips and then I realized – its odd that I’m eating cinnamon pita chips!!!!! But its a jerk reaction – and when you retrace your steps, you start to see how easy it is to lose your way. Like Orlando ordering beer at the Kennedy Space Center, and I ordering the soft serve ice cream at Downtown Disney -the choices are small and insignificant at one sitting but once you start making them your state of mind shifts and if you’re not careful, your bad decisions start replacing your good decisions more often than they should. And its so subtle its scary!

So when Monday came around, Orlando found himself without any motivation to go to the gym…and I had forgotten to set up our vitamins in the morning…we found ourselves feeling a little disoriented, unmotivated and unprepared. But because we are both in this together, it was a lot easier to regroup. Our motivations are slightly different. I prioritize the being healthy part because weight is not an issue for me, but weight has been an issue for Orlando so that drives him even more. And our desire to give our children a healthy lifestyle is a driving force for both of us. So the team work and the common goals really makes it easier for us to keep each other in check. Having this blog has also made us feel accountable for our decisions. And I realize that is one of the reasons it is so important to have a good support system; a community of people with the same goals as you. It has made me understand why they say addicts should never stop attending their AA or NA meetings. Its the same as having a mastermind group that you meet with to improve your business, or your church group… I have learned over the course of this weekend that state of mind and accountability are all part of eating healthy also. We can all de-rail and lose focus. No one is exempt from that. But the key is to stay accountable. Surround yourself with a community of people who will motivate you to stay healthy, to be positive. Create a team. Make this a family affair. The energy is contagious.

Thank you all for keeping us accountable!!!!

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